Siddha Pranali

“Siddha-pranali” literally means “the channel of the perfected”. It is a succession of spiritual bodies from the associates of Caitanya Mahaprabhu down to the present-day gurus. Siddha-pranali, along with Guru-pranali (succession of gurus in sadhaka-deha) is often revealed to the serious disciple at the time of diksa (initiation) to aid his bhajana.

At the time of giving siddha-pranali, the guru reveals to the disciple his (the guru’s) own ekadasa-bhava (eleven sentiments), as well as those of his predecessors in the diksa-parampara, and finally also that of the disciple. This connects the disciple into an eternal allegiance of servanthood in the spiritual realm, and it is through this channel of associates of Sri Radha-Krishna that the sadhaka then renders his service.

The following is a description of ekadasa-bhava (the eleven sentiments):

(1) sambandha (a specific relationship with Radharani in Vrindavan),
(2) vayas (age, such as 12 years, 6 months, 10 days),
(3) nAma (a name, such as Kamala Manjari),
(4) rUpa (bodily appearance, usually expressed in terms of bodily hue, such as the color of lightning),
(5) yUtha-praveza (entry into a particular group under the command of one of Radharani’s intimate friends, such as Lalita),
(6) veSa (a dress of a particular style and color),
(7) AjnA (instruction),
(8) vAsa-sthAna (a place of residence, such as Bhaktivinoda’s Svananda-sukhada Kunj),
(9) sevA (a specific service, such as providing the Divine Couple with camphor),
(10) parAkASThA (the ambition to attain a particular blessing, such as being directly asked to do something by Sri Rupa Manjari),
(11) pAlya-dAsI-bhAva (the mood of a completely dependent maidservant, under the tutelage of one of Radharani’s sakhis).”

(The examples given above are of the ekadasa-bhava of Kedarnath Datta Bhaktivinoda, as he received them from his diksa-guru, Vipin Vihari Gosvami.)

The practice of getting acquainted with one’s siddha-deha and actually realizing it (svarupa-siddhi) generally passes over two stages of practice, mantramayi-upasana and svarasiki-upasana. Pandit Anantadasji explains in his commentary to Raga-vartma-candrika (1.11):

“In the sadhaka-body, which is the present body, as well as in the siddha-rupa, which is the mentally conceived spiritual body which is suitable for direct service to Them, or the Guru-given manjari-svarupa, raganugiya-devotees serve Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava in the wake of the people of Vraja and nourish the powerful desire to relish the wonderfully brilliant erotic sweetness of Their forms, attributes and pastimes in their hearts. Just as one serves Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava in the external sadhaka-body with different articles according to the particular time, similarly one meditates on rendering such services mentally with the same articles collected with the siddha-rupa in the Yogapitha (this is called mantramayi-upasana). Then again one meditates on rend

ering service to Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava in one’s siddha-svarupa in the kingdom of the eightfold daily transcendental pastimes according to the right time (this is called svarasiki-upasana).”

It is also common that this seva has two phases, Gaura-lila and Radha-Krishna-lila. According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada (Sriman Mahaprabhor Asta-kaliya-lila-smarana-mangala-stotram, 11):

zrI-gaurAGga-vidhoH sva-dhAmani navadvIpe ’STa-kAlodbhavAM
bhAvyAM bhavya-janena gokula-vidhor-lIlA-smRter-AditaH

“The pastimes of the moonlike Sri Gauranga are manifest in His own abode Navadvipa during the eight phases of the day. They should be meditated upon prior to the remembrance of the pastimes of the moon of Gokula.”

The details of sadhana may vary from one lineage to another, but this is the general outline. Of course in general, nama-japa, mantra-smarana, puja, nama-kirtana etc. are a part of the sadhaka’s life. It is understood that a serious practitioner should chant no less than one lakha (64 rounds) of harinama to progress in his sadhana-bhajana.

As far as the history of this practice is concerned, though Siddha Krishnadasa was a great, prominent teacher of this method of bhajan, the roots of these methods of sadhana go way back to the associates of Mahaprabhu. Particularly similar procedures are found in the paddhatis of Gopal Guru Gosvami, a disciple of Vakresvara Pandit, and Dhyanacandra Gosvami, Gopal Guru’s disciple. Visvanatha encouraged the method of dual (Gaura/Radha-Krishna) upasana, as demonstrated above, and Narottama envisioned himself engaged in yogapitha-seva in his songs.

In general, manjari-seva is discussed in the books of the Gosvamis as well, particularly the works of Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami (such as Vilapa Kusumanjali) get very specific about the various services rendered throughout the day. We should also mention the Govinda-lilamrta of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, an exellent example of an early asta-kaliya-lila-smarana-gutika (guidebook for meditation).

Hence, although Siddha Krishnadasa has presented the most elaborate literal output, it is not justified to attribute the entire line of practice to him only. The mere fact that there are unbroken diksa-lineages coming from the associates of Mahaprabhu, along with their respective siddha-dehas and related information, indicates that the practice of manjari-bhava-sadhana has existed since days when Mahaprabhu brought the treasure of manjari-bhava to this world.

The qualifications for the practice — lobha, or eagerness for the attainment of the desired goal is considered to be the qualification for engaging in the practice of raganuga. Visvanatha Cakravartipada has stated in his Raga-vartma-candrika (2.7):

atha rAgAnugA-bhakti majjanasyAnartha-nivRtti-niSThA-rucy-Asakty-antaraM prema-bhUmikArUDhasya sAkSAt svAbhISTa-prApti-prakAraH pradarzyate ||

“Then it will be described how the one, who has progressed on the path of raganuga-bhakti through the cessation of the evils (anartha-nivritti), firmness (nistha), taste (ruci), and attachment (asakti) all the way to the attainment of ecstatic love (prema), will directly come to attain his desired object.”

Since the practitioner of raganuga progresses through the stages of anartha-nivrtti (preceeded by bhajana-kriya, or engaging in the various practices of bhajana) and nistha, it is illegitimate to claim that the lobha, or eagerness of the sadhaka, should be constant and unbroken prior to the beginning of the practice, since the stages prior to nistha (firmness) are anisthita (not firm) due to the various obstacles the sadhaka meets on his path, as Cakravartipada describes in his Madhurya-kadambini. Lobha is described as follows (Raga-vartma-candrika, 1.5):

tatra lobho lakSitaH svayaM zrI-rUpa gosvAmI caraNair eva –

tat tad-bhAvAdi mAdhurye zrute dhIr yad apekSate
nAtra zAstraM na yuktiM ca tal lobhotpatti lakSaNam (BRS 1.2.292)

vraja-lIlA-parikarastha zRGgarAdi-bhAva-mAdhurye zrute dhIr idaM mama bhUyAt iti. lobhotp

atti-kAle zAstra-yukty-apekSA nA syAt, satyAM ca tasyAM lobhatvasyaivAsiddheh. nahi kenacit zAstra-dRSTyA lobhaH kriyate nApi lobhanIya-vastu prAptau svasya yogyAyogyatva-vicArah ko ‘py udbhavati. kintu lobhanIya-vastuni zrute dRSTe vA svata eva lobha utpadyate.

“Sri Rupa Gosvamipada himself has described the symptoms of greed as follows:

‘If, upon hearing about the sweetness of loving emotions, one experiences a longing in his mind for attaining the same, from that moment onwards he no longer depends on scriptural injunctions and logic; such is the symptom of greed.’

After hearing about the sweetness of the loving emotions of Sri Krishna’s associates in Vraja-lila headed by the ones in sringara-rasa, one may think, “I wish they would be mine”. Upon the arising of greed, scriptural injunctions and logic no longer remain as an impetus, and if it does, the greed is not actual. No-one develops greed because of scriptural injunctions, and for the one in whom greed is manifest, in him there is no consideration of qualification or disqualification in obtaining the object of his greed. Rather greed arises only by hearing about or seeing the object of one’s greed.”

In the verses following the one quoted above, Srila Cakravartipada goes on to explain how the greed of the sadhaka intensifies day by day.
For those who have not attained a firm level of taste and inspiration in raganuga-sadhana, Sri Jiva Gosvami recommends in the Bhakti-sandarbha:

ajatatadrsa rucina tu sadrisesadara matradrta raganugapi vaidhi sambalitaivanustheya; tatha loka-samgrahartham pratisthena jatatadrsa rucina ca. atra misratve ca yatha yogyaµ raganugayaiki krtyaiva vaidhi kartavya.

“Those bhaktas who have developed some interest in the path of raganuga-bhakti-sadhana, but who do not possess such a deep hankering as the jata-ruci-raganuga-bhaktas, should combine the principles of vaidhi-bhakti with their performance of raganuga-sadhana.”

In other words, the practice of raganuga is not limited to those who have attained the level of ruci and above. Pandit Anantadas Baba (commentary on Raga-vartma-candrika, 1.8) further explains the conception of Visvanatha:

“At first the greed of an aspirant will be scattered over many different subject matters and cannot focus on the actual beloved object, but when sadhana bhajana ripens, this greed will give up all other subject matters and will focus on the beloved. … Thus his heart is gradually cleansed from vices like lust and becomes completely immaculate. The purer his heart gets through this cleansing process, the stronger the sacred greed will get in his heart.”

The qualification for practicing sound lila-smarana though is another thing


One Response to “Siddha Pranali”

  1. pablo capuano Says:


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